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How Long Have I Had Sleep Apnea?

by Percy L. White Jr.
(Chesapeake, Virginia)

Can s sleep study determine how long you've had sleep apnea? I am a Veteran and trying to receive compensation for Sleep Apnea because i believe it is a service connected disability.

Kevin: Hi Percy. To my knowledge, a sleep study won't be able to tell you retroactively how long you have had sleep apnea. The sleep study will measure how many episodes of apnea (or how many times you stop breathing) you have over a certain period of time, and this information is used in the diagnosis. Perhaps the severity of your apnea diagnosis would give a clue as to how long you've had it, although I imagine it would be hard to pinpoint a time just based on that.

This does not make great evidence, but for your own personal knowledge, can you think back to a time when your daytime alertness levels started to become compromised? Or when you started to snore more heavily (if relevant)? Or when you started to wake up with a very dry mouth? Personal clues like that may give you a better idea as to when you started to have apneas.

Thank you for your service. Can you elaborate on how you think your apnea is service related? Maybe some other visitors can relate.

If anyone else has experiences with apnea and service, please post a comment using the option to do so below. Alternatively, if anyone has more information on learning how long one has had sleep apnea, it would be great to hear from you as well.


(Please keep in mind that I am a student of sleep science and not a medical doctor. Please take any thoughts I give with my background in mind.)

Comments for How Long Have I Had Sleep Apnea?

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Jan 27, 2016
Also a vet NEW
by: Davy

I'm also a veteran and will be tested for sleep apnea. The only way I can relate to having sleep apnea while in the navy is the amount of times I was told by my shipmates and ex wife of my snoring. On some occasions, my ex wife would bring up some time that she would have to wake me up because I would stop breathing. I never really paid much attention back then but now 15 years later I'm still doing it and always waking up in the middle of the night. So the question is, can a sleep apnea test determin how long I've had this problem?

Apr 06, 2016
How Long Have I had Sleep Apnea NEW
by: DAQ

Percy your situation is similar to mine; I have severe sleep Apnea I was told but they were unable to tell with much accuracy how many times I stopped breathing because of my lack of tolerance for the CPAP machine and ending the test in a couple hours. I am a veteran too, and trying to get compensation; here's the tricky part, my condition is from 40 years ago - I've snored loudly to wake the county from way back then; I've heard myself snoring in the past. Snoring for some reason always had a negative meaning - so I use excuses like only when I had a Cold or exhausted from lack of sleep, not knowing this very lack of sleep is the problem. I have always woken up with a dry wacky throat and the need to cough up a deep phlegm that often is hard to bring up even with a Cold and I've always slept in spurts through out my military days to present 36 years after ETS. Like you my only evidence is my ex-girlfriend; unlike you, complaining about the fight and struggle with flailing arms and leg whips, I knew nothing about. She would ask "Is it something on your conscience that is depriving you of sleep?" All the information and acceptance of conditions didn't exist back in 1980 -Here's an unbelievable .... for you, I had tonsillectomy twice (2 times) six months apart at Ft. Sam Houston and to this day every so often I have throat problems.
I was telling a friend recently, all my dreaming is done while I am awake; He is so correct, responding, you don't sleep well enough to dream.

May 03, 2016
Apnea and service NEW
by: Anonymous

My husband is a veterans service officer. HE HAS WORKED many claims over the past 15 years of his job. To his knowledge apnea is not service connected in a way say cancer would be. You would have to have served during a war time conflict. Check with your local officer. There are conditions specific to war.example.Vietman - agent orange exposure and diabetes.Ptsd would be another service related condition which would have to have been well documented while on active duty.

Oct 11, 2019
service related
by: Sam

Im a vet as well, and was just placed on CPAP my RDI was 141. I don't believe that happens overnight. My wife was a cardiologist's nurse and she mentioned getting an ultra sound of the heart to tell if there is any damage. Not that it would be an exclusive way to find out, but could be a tool to add to other evidence. I separated from service in '97, but my wife tells me I have snored since I have known her. That's my only evidence as well. I am going to contact my service officer and the DAV for assistance in filing a claim.

Jan 29, 2023
Does Not Happen Overnight NEW
by: NCC(SW) Andrew Byrd

After 19yrs USN service, I was discharged JUNE2005,
Had a Sleep Study Done JULY2004. States Moderately Severe sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome evidenced by index of 19. This did not happen Overnight JULY2004,but I never went to medical or was told about Sleep Study. I believe I had it for 10yrs prior due to Wife/Kids/Shipmates comments over those 10yrs. 70%Disability by USN and VA, but VA not paying saying it was diagnosed JULY2004, thats the date. Im arguing I had it for years and Im literrally losing $200,000 in back Disability pay due to VA determination of 2004, vice 1995 or 2000. Any suggestions? Andrew Byrd ph#832-758-5318

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